Many customers are experiencing a deterioration of their relationship with organizations, particularly on social media channels.

In 2013 and in 2016, NICE & BCG carried out a global survey of financial, telecom and insurance customers. The latest survey, published in March 2016, found that there has been a consistent drop in success rates for customers as they interact with these brands. There is also an increasing skepticism among customers that brands actually listen to their customers or act on feedback they get.

Ninety-seven percent of customers use more than one channel when dealing with a brand, yet 76 percent of them feel that brands deliver a poor, disjointed, silo-based channel experience. A 2015 Economist Intelligence Unit survey found that only 5 percent of brands claimed to have a seamless customer experience across all their channels. A 2015 Accenture study found that 10 percent of brands were delivering a seamless customer experience.

Mobile is gaining momentum as the preferred channel, according to the survey, while “the number of consumers using social media to resolve customer service issues has dropped.” 

The fact that customers are giving up on social media as a way to interact with brands is, of course, no surprise. 

Most brands and organizations have never had any genuine desire to use social media to help customers. A 2015 Spout Social survey found that retailers were ignoring 80 percent of consumer questions and requests on social media. According to a 2015 Locowise survey, brands on Facebook ignored 87 percent of customers’ feedback. A 2014 Freshdesk survey found that 78 percent of top brands did not respond to tweets.

There is a grand sense of delusion when it comes to how organizations view the quality of the customer experience that they are delivering. A 2015 IBM and Econsultancy survey found that while 69 percent of brands felt they were delivering a superior customer experience, only 31 percent of customers felt the same. A 2015 IBM banking study found that while 62 percent of banks felt they were delivering an excellent customer experience, only 35 percent of customers agreed.

At the root of poor customer experience is the fact that it is not seen as important. Why? Because in old model organizations, the potential customer is seen as an asset, whereas the actual customer is seen as an expense. A 2014 Strativity Group study found that while 80 percent of organizations felt that customer experience was important, only 19 percent were making it a strategic priority. Brands talk the talk when it comes to customer experience, but they rarely walk the walk.

The old model silo-based organization believes that it can create alternative realities through marketing and advertising — it’s broken and it won’t be fixed. Digital transformation means using digital to transform the organization so that it organizes around customer needs, not organizational needs. Brands and organizations are the ‘establishment,’ and we know the way customers feel about the establishment today.